A good number of friends and supporters, from far and wide, joined together with us for a memorable afternoon, as we gave thanks to almighty God for his provision of our new pastor, Matthew Cox.
Last year, 2016, was a difficult one, and there were times when we wondered whether the church would be able to survive. Amazing grace provided the answer, and on Saturday, 24 June 2017, the chapel was filled with song, as 120 people raised their voices in praise, prayer, and delight in Jesus Christ, the great head of the church.
Mr Cox comes to us from Chorlton Evangelical Church, Manchester, where he has been an elder for six years. His fellow elders have encouraged him to consider full-time Christian ministry.
His work has involved him in local government and housing associations, dealing mainly with neighbour-nuisance. Mr Cox, 37, together with Mary his wife and their three children, Owen, Imogen and Simeon, have moved from large city to small village. May God be with them, as they settle in to something quite new in so many ways; and may the Holy Spirit attend Mr Cox’s leadership and preaching!
One of our elders, Ian Jemmett, gave the history of how the church’s invitation came to Mr Cox, and of the clarity of conviction that came with his response. This was followed by the ‘charge to the church’, delivered by Jeremy Walker, pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley.
Mr Walker urged the fellowship, from Hebrews 13:17, to give the preaching of the Word a Berean, deliberate, intelligent and ready reception; and to gain the intended blessing from the Lord’s gift of a pastor — and thus to keep the pastor righteously, reasonably and responsibly happy. Following this, prayer was offered for the church by Andrew Saywell, of Grace Chapel, Folkestone.
Vows and worship
Mr Cox then gave his account of how the sense of call grew, as he visited us on several occasions, and the sense of union between the Coxs and the church developed, culminating in his acceptance of the call.
Walter Johnston gave a tender charge to Mr Cox, having been his pastor for several years at Chorlton Evangelical Church, Manchester, after which Mike Judge (pastor of Chorlton) prayed for him.
Mr Jemmett then led Mr Cox in making his vows as the pastor, and the church in theirs as the flock, after which the elders laid hands on the new pastor and Andrew Muwowo prayed for him.
The service concluded with the singing of ‘Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head’ and the doxology ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow’, both sung with meaning and joy.
Our time together ended with tea, and plenty of warm fellowship with friends old and new. We were encouraged by the degree of support for the church that visitors expressed.
And now, encouraged in the Lord, to work, to war, for these are perilous times, for which the remedy is the Word of God. May we lay it up in our minds, store it in our hearts, and follow it in all our lives; and may Jesus, who is Lord of all, be exalted among us and through us.